Tag Archives: tipping

I just want the regular carwash

Look, I just want a regular carwash. The least expensive option. I’m not interested in Tire-All performance enhancing tire grip wash. Wait, how much extra? No, no that’s OK. I’m really just here for a pretty basic soaping, rinsing, and wiping. Do you guys vacuum the inside? Like the inside mats? Is that standard, included in the basic package? Sixteen fifty, right? OK, cool. No I don’t want the leather moisturizing detail combo. It’s fine. Really, I don’t even think those seats are real leather.

Synthetic moisturizing detail sub-combo? I’ve never heard of that. Three ninety-nine? I mean that’s kind of reasonable, I just … you know what? No, I always fall for this stuff. Regular car wash please. With the vacuuming. Well, what does the deluxe vacuumizer do differently than the regular vacuum service? Two sixteen additional? I mean, just explain it to me, what am I getting? Is there a noticeable improvement from using the regular vacuum to using the vacuumizer?

Well then why only two sixteen? Why don’t you just up the base price of the car wash and then automatically use the vacuumizer? Won’t that contraption pay for itself a lot faster if you make sure you’re using it on every car? Because, look, I don’t mind necessarily paying two sixteen extra, it’s just that, I don’t like being offered one price and then being offered an increase in vacuuming quality for two sixteen extra. You want two sixteen, just take two sixteen, don’t try to make me voluntarily cough it up.

Besides, you’re going to keep two functioning vacuuming systems installed and ready to go? I guarantee you less than half the people are opting for the vacuumizer. I’m just saying, I’m already leaning towards no. Wait, did that guy misunderstand me? What’s he doing with the vacuumizer by my car? No, I said … well I didn’t make up my mind yet, but now I’ve made my decision. And it’s no. No vacuumizer.

Well I don’t care how long it takes to power up. You should have thought about that before you decided to assume I’d automatically cough over two dollars and sixteen cents. Now it’s not even about the money. It’s about the principle. Don’t give people an option between a default system that doesn’t get the job done and a special surcharged system that … what does this vacuumizer even do?

Do the regular vacuums get the job done? Yes? Well then the vacuumizer, it does the same job, but what, it’s easier to operate? Less manpower? So I’m going to pay extra so you can have an expensive machine do the same job but with less work?

Whatever, you know what, I can’t talk about vacuumizing anymore. Just make sure you get all that crap out from in between the doors. I can’t even reach in there. I don’t even remember the last time I had Lucky Charms while I was driving, so I don’t know how all those hearts, stars and rainbows got in there.

Can I ride in the car? You know while it’s going through the car wash? Why not? Come on, when I was a little kid every car wash used to let you do that. I’d sit in the back and pretend I was a prisoner on a pirate ship. Now nobody lets you stay inside. You always have to walk through the little gift shop, look at all the different varieties of air freshener.

How much? Four twenty five? Just to stay in my own car? Plus the vacuumizer? Two times? Well can’t I just pay you for the first time it was powered up, and you can just still do the regular vacuuming? Come on, why does that guy keep powering it up prematurely? You’re jumping the gun buddy!

All right, thanks a lot boys. Just, no, I already put the tip in the tip box. What do you mean how much, I put like five bucks in. Well why was there a giant metal box that said, “Thanks for the tips!” right where I paid for the car wash? You’ve got to talk to the boss, I don’t know, I see that box, I think, OK, tips, you guys’ll divvy them up afterward. And look, another box right outside. You’ve got to streamline this tip process. I promise you I already tipped.

Man, there’s still so much crap in that crack. I can clearly see a pot of gold, right there. Can you just go over it again with the vacuum? Really? I’d have to drive all the way around? There’s such a long line of cars. You know what, forget it, thanks a lot guys, you’re all doing a great job here, running a great business.

Kyle Smith, you are a huge asshole: a response to an op-ed in the New York Post about waiters and waitresses in New York City

The other day this asshole Kyle Smith wrote a douchey little op-ed in the New York Post about how much he hates waiters and waitresses. It was one of those pieces that, with each sentence that I read, I’d grow increasingly enraged, to the point where if he were standing right here, I’d probably assault him. All I was thinking was that I wanted to write something back to this guy immediately, to let him have it. But my emotions were running too high, and I needed some time to calm down, distance myself from the hate this guy was spewing.

Now that I’ve cooled off a little bit, I feel like I don’t know where to start. So I’m going to go through his piece, line by line, spell everything out as to why this guy is such a tool.

The hostage drama of dining out in New York City

By Kyle Smith

March 2, 2013


Well, hi there! I’m doing great this evening, thank you! It is quite rainy out there, you’re absolutely right! I guess we’re both really super-stoked to be here in this restaurant that’s more crowded than my junior-high-school cafeteria! Imagine the excitement, eating food in public! And your name is Jason?

Jason! I don’t care! Just bring me some food and go away!

So here’s where we start. Kyle Smith is an asshole. He doesn’t like talking to strangers. He doesn’t like talking about the weather. He doesn’t like the fact that the restaurant he’s at is too crowded. Kyle, I’ve only read about a paragraph of your writing and I can already tell that you’re not a nice person.

To you I say, why venture outside the house at all? Why eat in public? You clearly don’t like other people, why be subject to their presence in large numbers? In fact, why live in New York City? There are way too many millions of people that might actually force you into having some sort of a human interaction.

I’m sorry that technology has not yet brought us to the point where each restaurant table comes embedded with a touch screen. Maybe you could just order your own food, type in your own special requests to the kitchen, then the chef could come screaming at you that he’s too busy for all of your nonsense. To you I would say, Kyle! You’re an asshole! Stop making my job more difficult! Say hello, eat your food, pay the check, and you go away!

Waiters and waitresses at New York’s self-consciously hot restaurants need to cool it a bit. I don’t care how charming you are on your auditions. I’m not here to make friends. Frankly, garcon, I don’t even need to know your name. By the time you tell me about the specials, I’ve already forgotten it. You’re a servant. So serve.

Hey buddy, I’m not a servant. I’m a waiter. There’s a difference. And you don’t like my friendly disposition? Guess what? Neither do I. It’s fake. My bosses make me do it. They tell me to go out there and smile. If I’m not smiling, and some secret shoppers come in and sit at my table, and they tell my bosses that I wasn’t smiling, that I wasn’t friendly, then I get in trouble, maybe fired.

I’m not here to make friends either. And besides, even if I were, you don’t sound like the type of guy I’d imagine myself going out for a beer with. I’m here to make money. I’m here to do a job and have you give me money. Because the house isn’t paying me. You are. It’s at your discretion. Sorry you don’t like my smile or my attempt at being upbeat. You should go to one of those restaurants where the staff looks down on its customers, visibly annoyed by their presence.

And you don’t want to hear about the specials? Again, why are you at a restaurant? If it’s not for the food, I seriously suggest doing something else with your friends. Go bowling. Go out to a bar. Don’t go to a business where it’s everybody’s job to cook up something better than every other restaurant in this town. I apologize profusely for letting you know what’s for dinner tonight, asshole.

Strangely, New York waitrons (my generic term for both sexes of waitstaff) don’t even serve anything anymore. They seem to view themselves as party planners or masters of ceremonies. After taking my order, they disappear and give way to a series of surly busboys who do the food delivery, the clearing, the refilling of the water glasses.

I don’t know, that’s not how we do it at my current restaurant, but even at my old job, where we had busboys, I ask, so what? I’m trying to manage a whole section of tables. As in, you’re not the only people I’m trying to attend to. As in, you’re not the only person in this city, dick.

And these surly busboys that you’re putting down? The shitty tip that you feel insulted at having to pay? They’re getting part of that money. Yeah, why rely on teamwork? It speaks much more of a person that he runs around trying to do everything rather than delegating smaller tasks to coworkers.

After the order goes in, the next time I see Jason is when, after first ensuring that my mouth is full, he sneaks up behind me and hits me with a cheerful, “HOW IS EVERYTHING?”

Yeah, again, you’re not the center of the universe buddy. I have multiple tables to juggle, trying to make sure everybody is having a good time. Let’s say you’re out to eat – that is, after all, what you came here to do, right? Eat? – with three other people. After your food hits the table, I’m supposed to wait for you all to dig in, but then also lurk in the shadows, hoping to catch all four of you at a moment when you’re simultaneously in between bites of food? That’s a logistic impossibility.

Hey Kyle. Just give me a thumbs up. Is your food OK? Great. Is it not OK? Tell me. I’ll fix it. Again, sorry for being cheerful. Jerk.

In France, where I try to spend a week or two every year, waiters don’t even work for tips (the customer is expected to leave a mere euro or two) and yet they’re so much less annoying.

It’s the difference between a country where the children act like grown-ups and one where the grown-ups act like children.

Wow! You spend a week or two in France every year? That’s so cool! Please tell me more about it! France! Oh-la-la!

In Europe they pay waiters and waitresses a livable hourly wage. If I were paid decent money by employer, I wouldn’t be trying to make you personally happy with me. Because, and this is unfortunate, you pay my bills, at your discretion. My grandmother always used to say, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. And so yes, I’m smiling at you. I’m trying to be friendly. I’m not trying to be friends with you, I’m trying to get you to pay me for the job I’m currently doing.

Man, France! That is so awesome! You get to travel to France! The country where children act like grown ups. The country where everybody still smokes cigarettes. You make it sound so much better than America. You should go live over there! I mean, you’re already vacationing there one or two weeks every year. You’re practically a foreign national!

The French waiter sees himself as a party in a simple business transaction. When he’s ready for your order, he says, “I am listening.” Not talking. Not smiling like a politician. Not preening like the most adorable scamp in “Newsies.”

When a French waiter brings you the food (himself, instead of subcontracting the job), he, like P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves, simply trickles off, instead of vanishing. If you want him, you can simply wave him down. He’s standing right over there.

For a guy who makes no secret of his disdain for American servants, you have quite the knack for putting yourself in the shoes of our French counterparts. (I notice how French waiters don’t warrant your little “waitron” joke.) Here’s somebody you can relate to. Somebody who doesn’t smile, who doesn’t really feel anything at all. He’s barely concealing the same contempt that you make no effort to disguise toward anybody. And that’s the way it should be. A whole city full of pissed off snobs with scowls permanently etched onto their faces.

If you want him, he’s standing right over there. And he’s also not subcontracting his job out like us lazy Americans. He’s doing everything, while he’s standing right over there. Just wave him over. Or even better, just snap. He’s a servant also. But dignified. Because he’s pissed. Or not happy. Right?

The worst part of dealing with American waitrons is we’re forced to be nice to these creepy ex-darlings of their high-school theater departments because of the unspoken hostage drama that’s taking place behind the scenes with our food.

It’s as exhausting as pretending your friend’s baby is cute. Your mouth actually starts to hurt from smiling. 

“Of course you spit in the food if you don’t like the customer,” I once said to a girl I knew who had been a waitress for years.

“Nah,” she said. “If we didn’t like someone, we’d just throw his steak on the floor.”

Which is why I’m being so nice to you, Jason! In reality, I can’t stand you, you twerp! As you’ll find out when you see my tip!

Back to America, back to that waitron joke. And here’s where you show your true colors Kyle. “Of course you spit in the food if you don’t like the customer.” No. Of course you would spit in the food if you were a waiter and you didn’t like the customer. In your attempt to empathize with your servants, all you’re doing is seeing yourself from their point of view. Disgusted with your reflection as a human being, the first thing that comes to your mind in this scenario is spitting in your own food. Because seriously, how can somebody stand to take shit from a little prick such as yourself without holding back the urge to hock a huge loogie in your food?

I don’t know. But even though you’re a huge asshole, I’m still not going to spit in your food, or drop your steak on the floor. You’re an asshole, but I’m not. I’ll get through this most unpleasant of interactions.

And what’s with the squatting while you’re telling me about the specials? I know the waiter’s handbook says you get more tips that way because you remind us of cute, subservient creatures we actually like, such as golden retrievers. But it’s juvenile. Stand up and be a man. As much of a man as it’s possible to be while enthusing over whipped-feta crostini.

Now you’re just nitpicking. You don’t like it when I hover, you don’t like it if I crouch. Now you want me to be a man. Now I’m not a waitron. What about waitresses? Are they allowed to crouch? Or would you prefer them acting like men also.

You’re telling me to stand up, to not act subservient, but at the beginning of your piece you tell me that I am a servant. So serve. You said that. Do you have like an editor that goes through your writing and points shit like this out to you? Or do you verbally berate everybody like you talk down to waitrons? “Don’t tell me how to write a piece! I’m Kyle fucking Smith! You’re a bullshit editor! You’re a servant!”

Jason, if you were at all useful, you would at least keep anyone from clearing away my plates while I’m still eating off them.

I realize you want to hustle me out of here so you can replace with a new customer. I’m a capitalist. (And in France, I’ve been baffled to get turned away from an entirely empty establishment at 6 p.m. because all tables are already reserved — for diners who intend to show up at 7:30 or 8 or 8:15. Don’t they want my money in the meantime?)

Nor am I sentimental about lingering for hours in a restaurant. After a while, the way everyone seems as though they’re determined to act out the concept of “Having a wonderful time!” starts to creep me out.

Now it’s my turn to be petty. Maybe the Post’s web site has since corrected your grammar, but “so you can replace with a new customer,” I think you’re missing a word there. Maybe you should be a little nicer to that editor. You’re a professional writer, right? OK, I was just checking.

Which is to say, get over yourself. Sorry, I didn’t know you wanted to save that last bite of food. You put your fork down. You looked like you were done. Do you mind that I asked? You said you weren’t done. I didn’t take your plate away. Again, this is life, this is human beings interacting with other human beings. I’m not a telepath. I can’t divine when you’re done with your plate.

But try to big a big boy there Kyle, finish your dinner and put your silverware down. What do you need a break? Yes? Then host a dinner party at home. What bugs me is that you continually want it both ways. You don’t want to linger, but you don’t want to be rushed. I guess in France the waiters know precisely the moment to clear everything away. Ah … France.

But, Jason and Co., it’s been only eight minutes since you set my plate down. There’s still food on it. There’s still a fork in my hand. Do I need to actually hunch over my meal and make snarling sounds to keep your busboy buzzards at bay. 


New York restaurants’ tables should be set with a little two-sided sign that can be flipped around as appropriate. STILL HARD AT WORK on one side. MY WORK IS COMPLETE on the other.

I’m spending $150 tonight, Skippy, and yet you were in the Federal Witness Protection Program when I needed a second drink. Now you want to hustle me into dessert and coffee. Uh-uh. Negative. This $28 sliver of trout still has about $9 to go, and I’m not leaving any of it behind. Enjoy my 11% tip.

Dude, I’m sorry you’ve had such bad restaurant experiences. But really I’m just sorry for everything. You don’t seem like a cool guy. I’m feeling that you’re generally unhappy. As to the plate clearing thing, you know, see above. Sorry for trying to clear your plate. Sorry for making you scream IN ALL CAPS! (Is that a professional writing trick? I always thought that was limited to the comment sections on Internet forums.)

Trust me, I want you to order a second drink. I’m going to make sure that I offer you a second drink. You seem like the kind of guy that’ll go even more ballistic if he DOESN’T GET HIS SECOND DRINK! Besides, you’re telling me you’ll be underpaying me for my work. I want to make sure that your eleven percent is as inflated as possible.

He goes to France. He spends a hundred and fifty dollars at dinner. He writes in all caps on his New York Post blog. His name is Kyle Smith and he’s a pretty big fucking deal. He doesn’t like you. He wants everything to be just so but he’d rather you make it just so without being seen. Because you are beneath him. You are a servant. You are nothing.

Part of me hopes this response makes an impact, that people read it, that maybe the author will someday see it. He’ll read it and think, wow, I’m such a dick. But of course he won’t change his mind. Even though he probably has a Google alert set to notify him whenever somebody somewhere mentions his name on the Internet, he’s probably already received hundreds of hateful responses. It’s probably why he wrote his piece in the first place, to get a reaction. To rile up a bunch of servants and make everybody a little less happy.

But what I really don’t like is the idea that likeminded idiots will read his piece, will see their own negativity validated in print. They’ll think to themselves, “Yeah! I hate servers also! Fuck them!” and so I just want to put it out there that, no it’s not OK to be a jerk, and it’s not OK to leave an eleven percent tip. Just stay home. While I hate the idea of just adding my name to this chorus of discontent, whatever, Kyle Smith, you’re an asshole, you know it, everybody knows it, and I can’t say it enough. Fuck you.

Please tip me twenty percent

Every time I sit down to write something, I always have to hold back the urge to start complaining about my job, to start another one of these restaurant posts. One, and I’ve already said this a million times, there’s already a great blog all about waiting tables. So I don’t want to just do what that guy has already made a pretty successful career out of. But two, I like to stay positive, upbeat, you know, to the best of my ability anyway. Whenever I write one of these restaurant pieces, it always comes out negative, whiney, just very unpleasant.

Having said all of that, this is already a waiting tables piece. That first paragraph was just a big unnecessary disclaimer. I wait tables full-time. I spend more time at the restaurant than I spend awake at my own house. And so yeah, while I don’t necessarily want to be all about waiting tables, I’ve got to get some stuff off my chest now and then. Otherwise it’ll just fester and grow inside until one day I explode.

Today I’d like to talk about tipping. Think about gratuity, the system. It’s the system by which I and all of my waiter and waitress brothers and sisters eek out a living in this world. I work for a restaurant. The restaurant pays me something like three dollars an hour, which, and I don’t have to say it, isn’t a lot of money. It’s nothing. All of my money comes from tips, from tipping, from total strangers giving me money at their discretion after they settle their bill with my employer.

It’s crazy. It’s crazy because the people I work for still control everything that I do when I’m at work. Even though they’re paying me next to nothing. I still have to follow all of their restaurant rules, I have to shave every day, get micromanaged every ten seconds, do what I’m told, stand up straight, smile for the guests on the floor.

And I do my job and try to make sure everybody’s having a good time. Why? Because it’s my job? Sure. But also because I’m personally invested in each of my table’s dining experience. They have a good time, I do everything right, hopefully they’ll leave me a good tip, a twenty percent tip.

And that’s the whole argument. The system works because if I didn’t have that incentive of a potential tip, then theoretically I wouldn’t work as hard to earn that tip, right? Wrong. It’s bullshit. The whole system is flawed. It’s flawed because I never receive uniform twenty percent tips. A lot of my tips are fifteen percent. “Boo-hoo” a lot of you might be thinking to yourselves. I should be happy for whatever I get.

But that’s a terrible way try to make money. The standard is twenty percent. If I get like four or five fifteen percent tips, it’s like trying my hardest in school and getting nothing but B minuses. It’s like busting my ass, doing more work and taking home less pay.

Whenever I complain about the system, I invariably hear stuff like, “suck it up,” “stop whining,” “get a new job.” But that’s not how it should be. Every other real job in the world, you’re taking home a certain amount of money. Only by waiting tables does that money depend on the whims of the customers. And a lot of the customers aren’t nice. They’re just not nice people. They go out to eat, they order a bunch of stuff, they make me run around, I do it, I do my job, I smile and act friendly and do whatever I’m asked, and then these people leave me ten or fifteen percent. Seriously, that’s not a good system.

And the restaurant doesn’t care. Better luck next time. The customers paid for all the food. They didn’t arbitrarily decide to pay only fifteen percent of the check. No, they try something like that and then somebody’s calling the cops. But a ten or fifteen percent tip? “Bye! Thanks so much! Hope you had a great time! See you next time! Bye! Thanks! Bye!”

The hypocrisy is compounded when you try to wrap your head around the automatic service charge nearly universally applied to parties of five or more. Why should that gratuity be automatic? What’s the difference between five people ordering Diet Cokes and two people ordering Diet Cokes? The waiters and waitresses with bigger tables, not only are they serving more customers, but they’re serving more food, handing over bigger checks, and automatically receiving eighteen to twenty percent of those giant bills. All while the rest of the staff serving small parties just has to keep smiling and crossing their fingers, hoping that their tables choose to pay for their service, their personal employee that did everything required.

Restaurants should operate on a system of uniform automatic twenty percent gratuity. We should treat waiters and waitresses like salespeople receiving a commission. You don’t go and buy a car and then tip the salesperson. He or she gets a cut. It should be the same with waiting tables.

Oh but what about that incentive business? Maybe the wait staff might start slacking off? Well this is just a question of management. If your employees aren’t doing their jobs, they should get disciplined and eventually fired, just like at every other job. There’s no reason to assume that everyone will start sleeping while they work. No, just like salespeople, we’re going to want to bust our asses, sell stuff, bump up checks and earn bigger commissions.

Finally, while I’m up here on my soapbox, I’d just like to say, tip twenty percent. Don’t be an asshole. Leave a tip. If you go out to eat, if you sit there and have somebody wait on you, pay them for the job that they’re doing.

Done. See? That was really long and I got myself all worked up. But I had to. I was already worked up. I worked the dinner shift yesterday and my last table of the night, it was these three German people. They ran up a check of a hundred and fifty bucks, paid in cash, and left fifteen dollars on the table. I went up to them, took the money and said, “Was everything OK? Was there something wrong with my service?” and they just looked at me and said, “No, everything was wonderful. Thanks.”

I should start a blog where I only write stuff about waiting tables. But what would I call it?

I work in a restaurant, so naturally every time I sit down to write something, the first thing that pops in my mind is something about the business, something about waiting tables. But I don’t want to be that guy. There’s a really talented guy who writes about waiting tables, and he did it already, he wrote all about it. I’m pretty sure I don’t have anything novel to add to the conversation. But still, I spend a good chunk of my waking day serving food, and sometimes it just begs to leak out onto the page.

So I’m thinking about maybe, just this once, letting myself write some restaurant stuff. But everything that’s coming to mind immediately sounds so boring, so tired. I’d say trite, but that word is really trite. Everything is just going to come off as whiny. It’s one thing to write about stuff in a funny way, but I’m worried that once I get started on the little things I feel I need to get off my chest, it’s going to snowball into this giant Death Star of bitterness.

How do I do it without sounding too angry? How do I do it without giving everybody a huge lecture on how to behave at a restaurant? Because nobody wants that. I get it, you don’t go out to eat for the benefit of the staff; you go out to eat for your own enjoyment. And so even after I complain to myself in my head about certain things that bug me, another voice in my head starts saying stuff like, “Well, it’s your job. If you hate it that much quit. Or stop complaining.” And I hate it when that side of me butts into my inner monologue, and I get even angrier.

But a lot of my troubles all boil down to the fact that there really isn’t a cohesively American restaurant etiquette. Everything, little things, big things, they might all be done differently at different restaurants. Don’t pay your waiter, pay at the register. Don’t pay at the register, pay your waiter. You have to ask for extra here. Over here you don’t ask, it’s automatic. I recently switched restaurants, and I’m just shocked at some of these differences in the way service is carried out. At my old restaurant, I had my section, my tables, everybody had to go through me. And there were benefits to this, like I knew exactly what I had to do and I could figure out how to prioritize my actions in the short term. All while keeping my head above water and trying to make some money. I mean, that’s the idea.

But at this new restaurant everybody is supposed to be available to anybody. So a random customer asks me for a Coke and now I have to get it. At my old restaurant I would have just pretended not to see him waving. I’m only kidding. Sort of. I joke around about how I can be this huge dick, but really I had my own little tasks that I had to take care of, and so pretending not to see him was actually nicer than the alternative, me just kind of saying to this guy who wanted a Coke, “Your waiter’s coming right over.”

But customers don’t know how the staff operates from restaurant to restaurant. And the guy just wanted a Coke. Maybe he was really thirsty. I hate that whole, “I’m not your waiter,” business, even when I was working at that old restaurant and I had to do it every ten seconds. Who hasn’t ever found themselves sitting at a table for way too long without a drink? It happens. But customers get cranky and the staff gets upset for the customer getting pushy and, ultimately, if he or she is pissed off enough, they won’t get a good tip.

Tipping. It’s a pretty crazy way for people to make a living. It’s all so arbitrary. What do you do about that table that received great service but still only left fifteen percent, or less? And why? Why did they cheap out on the tip? Because they’re allowed to. Because restaurants don’t have to pay their staff a decent wage, they can leave it to the discretion of the customer. And a lot of the time customers are jerks. Why pay more when I can pay less? I’m giving myself a discount on the dinner, and in life, by being a bad tipper.

What’s the theory behind this, that without the expectation of a tip, the waiter or waitress wouldn’t work as hard, right? Let me tell you, it’s total bullshit. If I knew that I were to receive an automatic twenty percent from every check, everybody would be having a more pleasant dining experience. Because I wouldn’t be stressed out over a tip. I wouldn’t be trying way too hard to be fake nice or running around the floor like a crazy person, trying to show all of the customers how hard I’m working. I would just be chill, relaxed, and I’d perform my duties with a lot less nervous energy.

And another reason why tipping is detrimental. I don’t know about other servers, but I can only take so much disappointment in one shift. After three or four shitty tips, I basically just lower the level of work that I’m putting in for the rest of the night. Because I’ve worked hard already for money that just wasn’t coming in. Why bother? Just shift into autopilot and keep that mediocre money flowing in.

But nobody wants to hear this stuff. That’s why I’m not going to write about it. Except this one anecdote. Really quick. The other night I had these two women who refused to leave the restaurant. It was like an hour and a half past closing and I was the only waiter left, because I had to wait for them to leave so I could clean the table. Finally I begged the manager to kick them out and he eventually approached the table. They knew right away, they were like, “Yeah, yeah, we know …” and got their coats on and left. And I was just standing there, holding back the explosive rage inside, wanting them to turn around and see the look on my face as I wiped down their table, tell them thanks a lot for their shitty twelve percent tip. But I can’t do that. Waiters are strictly prohibited from being rude to a customer, even if they were rude to you by not paying you what you were owed. “Don’t you dare talk that way to a customer! Or look at them funny! Smile! Now! We’ll fire you! We pay you a special minimum wage, special in the fact that it’s comically lower than regular minimum wage, which is already comically low in and of itself, to be nice and friendly and subservient and obedient!”

And they didn’t look back anyway. They were just oblivious to my existence, not a care in the world regarding the fact that, not only did they waste my time, but they didn’t even pay me enough for the job I did for them. That’s how this works. You don’t get table service at McDonald’s so you don’t have to tip. In any other profession you complain if your employer doesn’t give you all of your money. But waiters have to stand there and smile. “See you next time! Get home safe! You forgot your doggy bag miss! Wouldn’t want to forget those two shrimp!” Come on. Who sits in a restaurant that long? Get a life. Go out to a bar. You’re just going to sit? Can’t you sit somewhere else? Like at home? Don’t they realize that other people want to get to their homes, get some sleep? Just completely inconsiderate of other human beings. It’s unimaginable.

See? That was way too bitter. I’m scowling right now. I think I’ve aged a whole month in like half an hour. I could never do this, the whole writing about being a waiter gig, because I can’t even make it funny. It just gets dark. And I don’t want to be dark. I don’t want to complain. Nobody wants to read it. Everybody’s got to work. I wouldn’t want to read somebody writing about how much it sucks to be an accountant, how these idiots come in at tax time and have no idea how to manage their own numbers, these jokes of human beings who didn’t save any receipts or bring any of the papers they were told to bring in order to have their returns processed properly. That would be super lame. And I would get pissed, thinking, hey, that accountant is talking about me. I’m not stupid. And so I’d stop reading. And I’d probably stop going to him for my taxes.